A year begins…

Deployed. Down-range. In theater. These are all terms the Army uses to describe that time when men go off to war. I dislike the term "in theater" because this is anything BUT an act or a show. I also don't like "deployed" because I picture little green men catapulting across a living room floor (I don't know why). I guess down-range sounds better; kinda makes it sound like they are just on-post down at the range. Takes a little of the sting out of it. I guess I prefer to call the whole situation "ouch"…'cause it hurts, oh-so-much.

My Chaplain-soldier left earlier this week and it has truly been the hardest week of my life. Nothing major has gone awry, but the pain of separation has at times been unbearable. He will likely be gone for 12 months, which is unfathomable at this point. We are taking it one day at a time. We have been blessed to hear from Chaplain often as he has been in an adjoining country awaiting a flight to his ultimate destination. The days before and just after he left were painful. It felt emotionally and mentally like someone was ripping off my right arm. I know no other way to describe it. BUT GOD…who is faithful. BUT GOD…who is rich in mercy is carrying us through. I know that sounds trite and simplistic and over-used. But it is so true for me this week! God has been caring for me in a way I can't describe. He has been my rock, my NEW right arm, a fortress to me, a shield. He has brought me hope every day, in one way or another. I have been faithful to His word and prayer and He has been faithful to meet me there and make it worth every second.

My husband is doing well, so far. He has already held a prayer meeting, and they haven't even made it to their FOB (forward operating base) yet! Go God! The next phase for him will be settling into another new time zone, establishing their position on base and beginning his spiritual ministry to the troops in his unit. Our next phase will be moving…yep, without my husband! The Army has graciously offered us a 1000+ square foot increase in our housing and we will take it! So glad Mama is on her way! (Love ya, MamaJ )

Casing of the colors

Today our family had the opportunity to attend my husband's unit's "Casing of the colors" ceremony, which most army units/brigades do in preparation for deployment. It was a well-attended ceremony held at our brigade's parade field. Many of the soldiers from all of the units in our brigade were out in formation in the field. The commanding general for Fort Bragg was also in attendance. "Casing the colors" involves calling the soldiers from each unit to attention, having them inspected by the brigade commander, and then packaging up the flags in preparation for movement to their deployment location. Upon their arrival, the colors will then be displayed again while the units carry on their mission downrange. This highly traditional ceremony was a great way to give a tangible, visual element to what probably seems to our son like a theoretical deployment. The pictures below are from this event. Notice how the flag is unfurled in the first picture and encased in the second. Longing for the day to see that flag unfurl again on American soil!!


Deployment. It's the "D" word in the Army. Not for everyone, but for most spouses it is. Ours first is looming just around the corner. We are past the 30 day mark. What does it feel like? Like a highly-anticipated, long-dreaded visit from that relative you hoped you'd never have to meet or see again. But you know he/she is coming, so you'd better prepare. That's what we've been doing. Everything from Living Wills to Power of Attorneys to Advanced Directives. The Army was kind enough to give us 2 weeks of "Block Leave" with their blessing and encouragement to spend time with family. We (minus the baby) chose to spend half of our Leave at Disney World. This was a fantastically phenomenal experience and will be a well-spring of memories during the long months ahead. The trip itself, the sights and sounds, the smells, the time…will all serve to bind us closer together and will impress into our minds perhaps for a lifetime. And now we are in the season of "lasts" and goodbyes. Last haircuts, last bills paid, last fill-ups, last road trips. And not just for me. My husband has begun to do it to. I see him stopping to study pictures he's passed a thousand times before. I see him savoring our smiles and laughter. I "caught" him going through all of the pictures on his i-Touch yesterday, just reminiscing about each face and place in them. Every hug we share speaks in unspoken terms "I love you and I will miss you. Not too many more hugs left before…". We are at the point of thinking, "Who really wants to fight about socks on the floor or hairs in the shower when soon there will be no one to fight with? Just let it roll…" Having grown up in an area of the country prone to tornados, this eerily feels like the "calm before the storm". My goal here is to be transparent, not portray hopelessness. These feelings are normal and affect most people in our scenario. I share them on the basis that they will help others know that what they are going through is common and help them not feel guilty or alienated. Trust me, God is in this, through this, under this, all around this. But it is a process of emotions that must be worked through. My goal is to journal as much as I can along this new journey, in order to help myself, preserve my memories, and most importantly to help others.

From Drowning in Disappointments to Upheld by Hope

It’s not supposed to be this way... I chose to revisit one of my favorite books yesterday.  (Love Lysa’s story!) And my whole heart resonat...